By JR on Wednesday, January 25, 2012
A third of inmates at one of Britain’s most notorious youth jails are Muslims and the religion is attracting a large number of converts.
There are 229 Muslims out of a total of 686 youngsters detained at Feltham Young Offenders’ Institution in West London, according to Ministry of Justice figures.
There are now so many worshippers at Friday prayers that they have to be split between Feltham’s mosque and its gym.
Sources claim that converts are attracted by the chance of better food and a more comfortable regime.
But there are also fears that some are being radicalised.
During Ramadan, Muslim prisoners are given food in separate hot and cold containers so they can eat what they choose at the end of their daylight fast.
A source revealed: ‘Over the last few years there has been a huge surge in those attending Muslim services. ‘The popularity of the faith has surprised people. We are seeing a large number of inmates converting to Islam.'
He added: ‘There is a difference between mainstream believers and extremists, but the fear is that some in the jail are being radicalised. 'Others convert for protection or to have what they believe is an easier lifestyle.’
Prison insiders say most non-Muslims are locked up during Friday prayers because so many guards are needed to monitor the lunchtime service.
The Ministry of Justice said: ‘The Prison Service is committed to ensuring the religious needs of prisoners of all faiths are met.’